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Old 06-29-2014, 11:20 AM   #1
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Biodiesel Revisited

An Arco station in a town near me recently installed a Propel Fuel island that offers biodiesel. Their biodiesel is a B20 blend, which consists of 20% bio, 80% petroleum diesel. Cat literature states that I can run up 30% bio, so this is well within their specs. What caught my attention was the price, the Propel biodiesel is 60 cents a gallon less that what I am currently paying for other diesel blends.

I did some forum research and there were some negative comments about biodiesel plugging up fuel filters, but most of those posts were over fours years old. Do the same fears apply now? Has anybody used B20 with any success?

Thanks.

Craig
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Old 06-29-2014, 11:31 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig P. View Post
An Arco station in a town near me recently installed a Propel Fuel island that offers biodiesel. Their biodiesel is a B20 blend, which consists of 20% bio, 80% petroleum diesel. Cat literature states that I can run up 30% bio, so this is well within their specs. What caught my attention was the price, the Propel biodiesel is 60 cents a gallon less that what I am currently paying for other diesel blends.

I did some forum research and there were some negative comments about biodiesel plugging up fuel filters, but most of those posts were over fours years old. Do the same fears apply now? Has anybody used B20 with any success?

Thanks.

Craig

The plugging of filters can come from 2 issues with bio. After a steady diet of Dino diesel, the bio will act as a solvent in the fuel tank and possibly get some asphaltic deposits moving through the system which the filters will catch. The other is the bio tendency to gell at temps higher than Dino. My '02 built Cummins burns the bio fine but the AquaHot doesn't like it at low temps. It took a triple dose of anti gell to make the AH happy at zero.



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Old 06-29-2014, 11:56 AM   #3
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Steve's answer is spot-on, If your MH is 2005 and has never run a higher BD concentration, you have 9 years of sediment at the bottom of your tank, especially if your rig sits for long periods of time without fresh fuel working it's way through. Be prepared with new fuel filters available. I personally avoid it like the plague (but I'm a biased retired petroleum chemist oil guy). I have been forced once to use B20 with no ill effects however, my fuel economy suffered nearly 2mpg. This should be taken into account for the price differential!
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:11 PM   #4
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There is a lot of misinformation pandered about concerning biodiesel, particularly mileage. This pdf has the accurate statistics for all fuels: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/fue...ison_chart.pdf
I have been buying biodiesel blended fuel ever since it came into common use with no negative effects. My farm tractors are all over 35 years old. None of them has ever had a plugged filter or any negative factors other that slightly reduced fuel consumption stated in that pdf. The secret is to only buy diesel from high-volume stations. This greatly insures you do not buy old, contaminated fuel; which is the primary source of plugged filters.
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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Here is a link to a Cummins paper on B20

Cummins Engines

It does raise some interesting thoughts.

For the sake of argument let's assume B20 will be more prevalent. There will be 2 different sources of "asphaltic deposits" to be dealt with.

The first will be from our MH fuel system. On a steady diet of B20 you should replace fuel filters the next 2 times at 1/2 the normal interval and then return to normal. DONE!

HOWEVER....

That won't account for these deposits being released by fuel stations as they transition to B20. Now, perhaps they are required to run filters that would remove the deposits before they get to the fuel pump and make this mostly a non-issue. It was just something I was thinking might be less predictable.

I'm not sure if B20 is all that bad or good. It is just something we will have to keep an eye on and see where it goes. Perhaps this article will at least lead us to some reasonably independent information.

Biodiesel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:46 PM   #6
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Use the Bio Diesel, It's great as long as you know the truth. I use to run 100% Bio in my 03 Cummins Dodge Ram. Yes you don't want to jump right in and go 100% because it will clean your tank and when it does it will put it into your filters. The way I broke mine in was to start with a mixture over a couple of tanks then change the filters and run a few more mixed fuel tanks and then change the filters again, after that run it 100% if you want. I did because I make it myself and still do, I just don't use it anymore do to not having a diesel. That I'm working on again.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:51 PM   #7
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This Q&A biodiesel page should help with your questions. Anything B20 and below should not be a concern.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
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I ran a couple tanks thru my 93 Pace Arrow Diesel with Cummins 250HP & never had to replace fuel filters. Some do, some don't. 1st thing I noticed is that the engine was quieter, the typical diesel "rattlng" quieted down. Yes, exhaust smelled like french fries. I did notice a slight decrease in mileage.
Most of the BioDiesel I have seen was actually MORE expensiver than straight diesel. Go figure>
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:30 PM   #9
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I'm Confused ! Those that use Bio, is that because its cheaper to buy ?
Smells like Fries ? Or Do you just like changing filters all the time.
Or are you in an area of the country where regular diesel isn't ?
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:25 PM   #10
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July 1st - Minnesota will double it's mandate to B10...some of us have to.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:51 PM   #11
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Not by choice... With an older motorhome I am more likely to encounter problems from both ULSD and biodiesel...
If you compare the Cummins FAQ's in the post #5 and Ray's Biodiesel Q&A, post #7, they raise some serious concerns on biodiesel.
Storage-Use biodiesel within 6 months of manufacture and don't leave in your fuel system over 3 month's or serious degradation may result.
Material incompatibility- metals used in fuel tanks and lines, copper, brass, tin, zinc can be attacked by biodiesel and leave deposits in the fuel. Rubber compounds and nitrile (fuel lines and gaskets) can be damaged by biofuel.
Winter fuel- soy based biodiesel has a cloud point of 32 deg but other grease based fuels cloud and thicken at 50 degrees. At the cloud point diesel fuel forms crystals that clog filters. The recommendation to keep the fuels heated to 10 degrees above the pour point is not practical in vehicles.. (you have no way to know what base stock was used in the biodiesel you use)

The Fuel Properties Comparison chart, post #4 is published by energy.gov to encourage biofuel usage. Their expected results are significantly different than what I have noticed. With the advent of ULSD and biodiesel up to B20 in most areas now, my fuel mileage has decreased about 10% over the last 5000 or so miles. ( from a solid 11.0-11.2 to 9.8-10.4) I have not encountered any engine or filter problems.

Biodiesel, and ethanol are obviously here to stay, I'm not a fan of either, but I think we need to be aware of the shortcomings of both, I see little benefit to the vehicles or the economy. Or the environment.....
I asked a Flying J tanker driver about biodiesel, he said all the stations will go to the Biofuels because they come with a substantial subsidy.
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